I am coming at you today from my bed, boom. Do any of you remember Dear Sugar, that relationship coloumn by Cheryl Strayed?
God, I LOVED that. I still go back and read them from time to time if I am having a relationship lull or feeling sad or need some inspiration or whatever.
I want to share with you letters or DM’s that I get from you guys and respond to them, much like Dear Sugar. I will share these letters with permission of the writer and of course it wil be confidential. But I believe that it will help so many of us dealing with a less then stellar relationship with food, body and ourselves.
As women, we have the gift of gab and talking about (or in this case reading) about can really help kick start the healing.
So without further ado, here is DM numero uno:
” I recently read your post on binge eating disorder. Everything I read perfectly described myself and its really scary but its something I’ve finally realized that I have been struggling with for a long time now. I’m not sure where it came from and what the root of the problem is but I definitely am starting to accept it and that I suffer from body imaging problems and I feel ashamed when I eat to much or eat certian foods.
Deep down I know I’m not overweight or as unattractive as I feel but it’s becoming a serious problem for me that I really want to fix. I want to love myself and feel confident in my own skin.
I constantly find myself wishing I looked like someone else. I love all kinds of food and I know I need to eat to fuel my body. It’s just so hard to find that control sometimes and it puts me in a depressed state. Do you have any tips or advice for me?”
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Dear Constantly Wishing I Looked Like Someone Else,
Thank you for your letter. And your vulnerability.
First things first, you my dear are not broken, there is nothing to fix here. You might feel that way, that might seem like the truth but it’s not.
Second, you are beautiful. I don’t need to know exactly what you look to know you are. You said you know this deep down too, that you are not as unattractive as you feel. So where did this feeling come from? What happened in the past that made you feel like you weren’t enough? Pretty enough, good enough, full enough?
Sit with that, ponder that. Why do you feel unattractive, what is missing, how did you develop this sense of inadequacy? Did something happen? It sounds like it hasn’t been resolved.
When we get clear on our beliefs about our self and where they came from we can then begin to question if those beliefs are even true. And then when we discover that they are not true, that we made them up, we can change them. We can choose to believe something else.
When we are using food to cope or to comfort we are using it as a drug. Yes food is joy and culture and celebration but it is meant to nourish our bodies. To make us feel vibrant and alive. It is not meant to punish us. To make us feel shame or guilt. To cover up something. To check out of life.
And in this situation the food is only the middle man. Instead of dealing with what is actually causing us pain we abuse food and then blame the food and our self-control and our willpower. When it has nothing to do with any of those things.
We need to get to the source. And to get to the source we have to stop being at war.
Being at war with your body and the way you look will never lead to lasting change and it absolutely will not lead to peace on your plate. You have to find peace within your body, your heart and your mind. And the way you look. The only way to do that is through love, care, forgiveness, compassion.
So first things first, forgive yourself, tell yourself you love yourself, that you are worth it and enough and you are not broken. You can love yourself and still want to make changes. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Then look for the roots. What happened that made you create this story that you are unattractive, inadequate, that something is missing? That your body is not beautiful and strong? Go there, embrace that dark place. Look right at it. Do not try to check out and numb yourself by binging and turning to food. Deal with it. But with love.